Newsletter #106

Nothing of note has happened of late but things should begin to pick up next week when the Blues play a series of friendlies in Ireland. If any of you out there are going to any of these matches and inside you lurks a long dormant journalistic tendency then how about a match report? Even if you’re severely challenged on the literary front, a few words on the game would be greatly appreciated by everyone else. Before anyone asks, no I’ve never done one myself, I did consider it once but only for a few microseconds!!!

See you all in three weeks, fingers crossed for the forthcoming games.

This issue reaches 331 subscribers.

Please note that I will be in England on holiday from Friday 21st July (this evening!) until Sunday 13th August. For this period, MCIVTA will be taken over by Paul Howarth so all new subscriptions and submissions should be directed to him at:



Eamonn “Doctor Death” Salmon is giving up his post as City’s physiotherapist and is returning to private practice in Burnley. No news as to his replacement as yet.

The Mole


Andy Hill is on strike! He’s out of contract and won’t sign a new one unless he’s offered improved terms. He’s refusing to take part in any pre-season games until his situation is sorted out. Alan Ball is said to be “disappointed.” Since Hill’s sold his house, it seems to me he’s just trying to get put on the transfer list (remember that if he asks for a transfer, he won’t get a cut of the fee).

Francis Lee has pre-empted any speculation about a possible sale of Paul Walsh, saying “there’s no way Paul Walsh will be leaving the club.” It also seems that “unsettled trio” Terry Phelan, Niall Quinn and Peter Beagrie are being encouraged to stay and make an impression on the new management team. Alan Ball claims to have no preconceived ideas about any of the players and it’s up to them all to prove their worth to him.

The Mole


The latest news of the Blues is that Andy Hill has basically gone on ‘strike’. Hill is out of contract and although a new deal has been offered he feels it’s derisory and wants a better deal. If City aren’t forthcoming he’s prepared to move and in that case he’s not going to play any competitive games for City. He doesn’t want to risk any injury in case any other team is willing to offer him a deal. Hill also claimed that he didn’t get a signing on fee when City bought him and that the other contract gave him a basic wage which was topped up when he was in the first team squad, and as we all know he was out for quite a while with injury, which meant he wasn’t getting ‘much’ in the way of wages. I wonder if Reid will come in and offer Hill the chance to move to Sunderland?

What with the spiralling transfer fees in England, it looks more and more likely that the only option to get good players is to look overseas. That’s exactly what Frank Clark has done and he’s on the verge of signing Andrea Silenzi from Torino, for something around £2 million.

Also on overseas players, Wigan Athletic have signed three Spanish U-21 internationals. One from Real Zaragoza and the other two from FC Balaguer, they are all free because they are out of contract. Just what can Wigan offer them that Spain can’t?

I wonder if there are any more bargains to be had on the continent?

Martin Ford (


According to Ceefax, Alan Ball has moved to quash rumours of a mass clearout at Maine Road. The press have been getting all excited and have convinced themselves that Ball is selling Quinn, Beagrie & Phelan to name but three. Ball stated that he would be assessing all players on their merits in the coming weeks and had not arrived at Maine Road with any preconceived ideas about who would and would not be wearing a City shirt next season. However, the statement did not preclude a sell off and it’s my feeling that one will come but probably not ’til after the pre-season friendlies.



Roy Bailey has been re-appointed as City’s physiotherapist. He was at the club for 25 years before his replacement by Eamonn Salmon a few years ago. Salmon returned to private practice earlier this week.

The Mole


The Metro News this week reports that AB has shown both sides of his managerial nature this week, by being very nice to Kinky George and quite nasty to Andy Hill!

Feeling that KG was bewildered and knackered by all the recent goings on, AB sent him back to Georgia to train with his old team so he could get his head together etc. Ball has seen him train and thinks he’s a top player; his words were to the effect that KG may not speak much English but he speaks the language of football very fluently etc. George is scheduled to be back in time for the friendly against Stockport County on Monday 31 July.

Andy Hill however, who has effectively withdrawn his labour from the club because of a contract offer which he considers to be derisory, has received little sympathy from AB. It is thought that Reid may be about to purchase him for Sunderland, and I don’t think he’ll be pulling on a City shirt again.

Ball took all the players off to some secret location to explain his footballing philosophy, his plans for the team and for the club (Hopefully this bit lasted more than a couple of minutes). No one was being prejudged it was said, and unsettled players like Flitcroft, Phelan and Quinn were told they were not (at this time at least) surplus to requirements. However AB is said, quite correctly IMHO, to view the squad as being big on people, small on quality. Therefore 8 players are likely to be eventually axed according to the Metro News. Hopefully we’ll buy some more players too.

Well Ball’s been here a few days/weeks and we’re still unbeaten and none of the players have walked out ’cause they hate the manager, it all appears to be going quite well!

Dan Rigby (


According to the Leeds internet yesterday, Leeds have made several firm enquiries about Flitcroft and are prepared to pay £2.5 million. Teletext also reckons that Ball is set to have a “mass clearout” of “star” players with Beagrie first to go.

David Bresnick (


Recent press articles have linked City with Neil Shipperley (Southampton) and Lee Clark (Newcastle). Yesterday Alan Ball was denying that he was about to have a mass clearout of players! Peter Beagrie was spoken of as going to Glasgow Rangers for £1.5M.

Jeff Smith (


Reuters version:

Georgian international midfielder Georgy Kinkladze has joined Premier League Manchester City from Dynamo Tiblisi. The fee was believed to be about £2 million. Announcing the deal on Friday, City chairman Francis Lee described Kinkladze as “a wonderful player with great skill. According to many people he is the biggest star in East European football. City have been seeking a quality replacement in midfield for Maurizio Gaudino who has returned to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Roger – The Blue Kiwi (


This piece, from World Soccer illustrates the madness in signing Kinkladse. Dynamo Tblisi’s sixth successive championship was marred by a major scandal:

“Before the final games Daraselia was topscorer with 26 goals. Khundadse was one behind…

… Nobody could have forecast the outcome – both players scored nine goals in 11-4 and 10-5 wins… The federation took action and deducted points from all four clubs.”

Tiblisi wasn’t involved. But there’s something smelly in Georgia.

Gorm Andresen (


I was reading WSC (When Saturday Comes) August edition and thought that our readers may find the following article amusing:

“Good Comradeship”

“And whenever I see Manchester United play I am always greatly impressed by their behaviour. They play the game in the proper spirit, never stopping to question the referee’s decisions, never reprimanding a colleague for making a mistake, never retaliating if they have been unceremoniously treated. They are a team in every sense of the word. They realise that only a sporting and combined side can command continued success.”

“It was the same when I was with Arsenal. The players were told to go out and play the game and, if they had any complaints to keep them until the weekly meeting of the team, usually held the day before the match.”

Charles Buchan, FA Book for Boys, 1949

Proof if you needed it that football really was a different game then.

Incidentally there is a good article in the same issue about Michael Robinson’s burgeoning television soccer career in Spain (watch out Gary Lineker) and some comment on the last time that transfer prices went through the roof with City signing Steve Daley for £1.4 million.

Finally, a new perspective on our Kinky signing. I understand that he does not speak much English and will have to rely on an interpreter. Well, Japanese soccer (where I live) has been dominated for the last three seasons by Kawasaki Verdy – a sort of Japanese rags – but worse if you can believe it!

This season they have been nowhere, in fact have languished in the lower reaches of the J League. The official reason given for their demise is the interpreter for their Brazilian coach, who is openly homosexual and effeminate – a sort of David Pleat with pink furry slippers. The players think he is a dork and won’t listen to what he says and he cannot be heard when translating for the coach from the sidelines. So Franny, if you are reading this make sure you get a 6 foot 6 inch ex-military commander as a translator for the newest son at the Academy!

Philip Gregory, Kobe, Japan (


Here’s some more potential opposition for those London (or other?) Blues wanting a game of footy: (the original message was posted to a list for footy WWW admins)

> Subject: Internet Lard FC
> From:
> Well the subject is a bit of an "in-joke" but in the close season a
> small hardcore of the Leeds United email list have formed a football
> team. After a hard game against The Square Ball (a Leeds Fanzine - we
> thought we were playing the staff, but it turned out to be a Sunday
> League cup winning team *sponsored* by The Square Ball who know a
> thing or rwo about football:-( ), we are hungry for other opposition!
> We even managed to get 15 players there too!
> Are any of the other mailing lists interested in a "friendly" against
> Internet Lard FC? If so, mail me and I'll see what can be arranged.
> Cheers,
> Ade [Leeds WWW].

Jacqui Cawley (Spurs WWW admin) replied:

> From: (Jacqui Cawley)
> Subject: Re: Internet Lard FC
> The spurs-list also has a football team in the making.  It is called the
> Internet Hotspurs and we are also looking for games.  If anyone wants a
> game plz contact Ivan at  We are preparing for a match
> against the Arsenal list at the moment but would welcome any other
> opposition.
> How's about a list football league?
> Jacqui.

The Everton and Liverpool lists also appear to have a side:

> From: Marko Poutiainen <>
> Subject: Re: Internet Lard FC
> Everton mailing list did play against Liverpool ml, I think. At least that
> was the plan.
> So, if you are interested, send a message to, and ask
> about it. I live in Finland, so obviously I'm out of it..
> Marko Poutiainen (Everton WWW)

Paul Howarth (


I personally welcome the possibly inspired, possibly foolhardy signing of the Georgian Kinkladze. It’s quite clear that a lot of former Eastern Block players, particularly the Romanians have totally and utterly failed to impress in the Premier League despite having bags of talent. One advantage that Kinladze will have, is that Ball will almost certainly build the team around him rather than the situation which Duimitrescu experienced at Spurs where he was forced to fit into an English midfield, something which always looked likely to fail. So, £2m for a relatively unknown player but on the other hand, who would you rather have for £2m, a potentially exciting East European or the painfully average Gareth Southgate (for £500k more) who recently moved from Palace to Villa?

It’s clear that this signing is 100% Frannie’s. Martin raised the valid point that the chairman’s job is not to buy players and I have to agree. My feeling however, is that Lee probably made the decision to sack BH a long time ago and bearing this in mind, it becomes easier to understand why he should be the one initiating moves for new players and not BH. The one worrying aspect of all this is whether Lee will maintain his interest in the players seeing as we now have a manager in whom Lee presumably has confidence. Having said that, I did hear that McMenemy was at Southampton to keep Ball under control on the transfer front as he wasn’t exactly reknowned for his astute dealings!



I’ve been reading both the facts and rumours in the papers and have come to the decision that whoever is running the club must be mad. Firstly we buy an unknown midfield player for £2 million, which by today’s standards seems to be a bargain. Secondly, if the rumours are to be believed, we sell Beagrie for £1.5 million. Can somebody please explain the logic in that!!!!! Last season Beagrie was by far one of the best and most skilful players in the team. I’ll agree that at times he can be a whinging git, but I suspect that if he goes so will half of Rösler’s and Quinn’s (should he stay) goals. Why are we even considering selling our best players at bargain basement prices, without a hope in hell of replacing them with somebody half as good for twice the price? Celtic must be laughing all the way to the bank!!!!

If the rumours of our transfer kitty are to be believed, we now have £1 million which would increase to £2.5 million should Beagrie go (providing we get the money in one lump sum which doesn’t seem to be the norm anymore). What the f**k can you get for £2.5 mil now, apart from an unproven 1st or 2nd division player!!

Finally does anybody have any news on how Paul Lake is doing?

Adam Houghton (


The first time I graced the stands of Maine Road was at the tender age of six, I was in the company of my dad and his dad, three generations of avid City fans. My grandfather had seen City win trophies and championships before WW2 and my father had seen them triumph in the fifties and the sixties, so I imagine it was down to me to see them conquer the world in the eighties and beyond. We were playing Stoke, it was November and bloody cold and grandad was merrily sipping from his hipflask. We were sat in the Main Stand; grandad had three season tickets for his company on Swan Street and his idea of corporate hospitality was to mix pleasure with business (a man ahead of his times?). I was enthralled, cold and constantly badgering my dad to tell me what was going on and who was who. The whole experience was just too much fun and I was hooked, my genetic programming had kicked in. We didn’t get to many games as we lived in Blackpool, and because dad’s a doctor he was always on duty at weekends. I kept an eye on City and admired from afar. As I got older I became more aware of football and noticed how Blackpool seemed to be full of kids who supported all the glory teams, which at the time included City! I stood by my guns and refused to be anyone other than Peter Barnes or Asa Hartford during school yard kick abouts. When I joined a local youth football club which had divisons for the various age groups I played for the Romans. I chose the Romans because they wore City’s colours, as it turned out the coach and all the other kids were City fans also. Ironically, just like City we were rather mediocre, myself especially.

Into the 80s dad started taking me to more games just after grandad died; I think he was chasing fond memories of days that were gone and as if out of respect City decided to turn on the best season I have seen them have, all the way to Wembley. Dad and I saw Norwich fall 6-0, Palace 4-0 and then the famous Villa Park semi. I can still remember Power’s strike now. Dad had pulled a blinder by getting two front row seats in the main stand right on the halfway line. The game had gone back and forth, crossbars had been rattled, all around the ground finger tips were bleeding as we went into injury time. City had rightly been given the Holte End, and although Ipswich were chasing a potential treble, City still commanded an average home gate of 37,000. The whistle blew, City had the free kick. Power strolled upto the ball and everything seemed to fall into slow motion. Ipswich had packed the wall for the kick, which was left of centre as I looked at it. Power began his approach and as the ball lifted, the wall vainly leapt, then the ball disappeared out of view. I never saw it go in but the Holte End did- the eruption was amazing, every Blue in the ground went berzerk, one bloke danced from the back of the Holte End to the front of the stand on the shoulders of the City faithful. A black girl sat one row down from us raced on to the pitch, gave several stewards a Martin Offiah like body swerve and got within hugging distance of Power only to be nailed by a copper. The relief was too much, Dad and I wept with joy and then buried our heads in our hands praying for the final whistle. Wembley was our next destination.

It was typical of Swales and of City that despite the years of devoted support my grandad had given to City, not to mention the huge amount of money he had invested in the club through the 40 club and sponsorship, we were unable to get tickets for the final, even though dad still held Grandad’s season tickets. Dad had to enlist the aid of John Smith, then chairman of Liverpool F.C. and an old friend of grandad. He gave us two excellent tickets and offered me an autographed photo of Liverpool’s 1980-81 squad. He was lost for words when dad conveyed my message of “thank you, but no”, followed by a request for an autographed picture of the City squad!!!!!! Three weeks before the cup final approached I sustained a really nasty injury playing football; dad kept on tut-tutting and saying I would not be fit to go to London. I remember hobbling about saying I was fine and then locking myself in the toilet to cry the pain away. Dad knew I was having him on but I also think he knew that the way City was going this could well be my last chance to see them play in a Wembley final. I recall hobbling around London wearing the scarf that dad bought for me at Villa Park and carrying the flag he bought for me on Wembley Way. I still have the scarf and flag. Everyone knows what happened that day; all I can remember was sobbing my heart out after Hutchinson equalised. Dad asked if I was alright and I tried to be the most manly that an eleven year old can be and said it was because my leg hurt. The journey home was miserable, the mood on the train was very sombre. I think everyone knew that City’s luck had just run out, and it seems that was to last for the next decade.

I could go on for ever but that would just bore you all; these three matches are why I am Blue and always will be. I was born to be blue and will die blue. On my wedding day in the car coming away from the church my wife knew what she had married when I ask the driver what the half-time score was, City were away To Sheff. Wed., 17th September 1994; we drew one all, Walshie scored. Now I sit at the game with my best man, my dad and my younger brother. This season my sister and her fiance will be joining us on the upper tier of the Kippax. Life can be sweet but only if you can really say you have seen the Blues.

Patrick Bedell (


Thanks to Gorm, Paul, Patrick, Adam, Phil, The Mole, Roger, Martin, David, Jeff & Dan.

The views expressed in MCIVTA are entirely those of the subscribersand there is no intention to represent these opinions as being thoseof Manchester City Football Club, nor of any of the companies anduniversities by whom the subscribers are employed. It is not inany way whatsoever connected to the club or any other relatedorganisation and is simply a group of supporters using this mediumas a means of disseminating news and exchanging opinions.

Ashley Birch,

Newsletter #106